- Costco is being criticized for animal abuse after animal rights activist group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) posted a video of brutal living conditions for hens at one of its cage-free egg facilities, The Washington Post reported.
- The hens aren't in cages, but their living conditions include the hens being "crowded together, covered in feces and blood, struggling to breathe and attacking and even eating one other," according to The Washington Post.
- Activist organizer Wayne Hsiung told The Washington Post that the video demonstrates that a "cage-free" certification doesn't mean producers have solved all animal welfare concerns.
The jury is still out on the best way to raise poultry, as activists argue both for and against cage-free environments. The former claim a cage-free environment is still better than battery cages, but the DxE investigation demonstrates how no alternative method is without its drawbacks.
A recall at a cage-free egg facility announced earlier this month also casts doubt on how safe cage-free environments really are for animals and employees. However, it's unclear whether that recall was due to the way cage-free poultry is raised or the lack of safety protocols at an individual company.
Transitioning from caged to cage-free environments is costly and can create disruptions in the supply chain, including availability of eggs to meet manufacturers' production demands.
Consumer support for cage-free eggs is also increasing, so it's unclear how these reports might impact perceptions of cage-free eggs or manufacturers' willingness to embrace them.